And why do you think it would be overheating?

Client of mine, one who actually seems to understand about computers to some extent, got a machine about five years ago. Within a week it started overheating, so it went back to the builder. The builder couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it, he ended up holding onto it for about six months, trying to diagnose it. Eventually he just bolted more fans into it and called it a day.

About six months ago this client contacted me to build her a new machine. Basically a performance box with a nowhere video card… knowing the problem she’d had with her last machine, I loaded up the Mersenne Prime search program and ran that non-stop for a week. No problem, and the fans never seemed to get up past about half throttle. She was amazed at how quiet the machine was in operation… particularly since the old one had at least four big fans screaming away at full blast, and the new one was pretty much idling along with two.

Last week, the old machine finally died – apparently blew up a semiconductor in the power supply. She wants it repaired, so she can use it as a backup machine… so the first thing I do is yank the heat sink to see if I can figure out why it’s so hot. And it turns out it’s really easy to see – the builder had left the tension springs out. So the cooler was just sort of floating about a sixteenth of an inch above the CPU. How do you even do that?

So I got a new heat sink as well as the new PSU, and now she’s stunned at how quiet it is, how quiet it should always have been I guess…

I wish I could say the builder has since gone out of business. But no, he’s still handling computer needs for the company where my client found him…

Crime doesn’t pay minimum wage

So one of the places I work with is a school. And the other day the school was broken into, and they asked me to review the security tapes.

It appears that two jokers spent about an hour one night, and then maybe another hour a second night, drilling through the lock on a door. Once they got in, they grabbed an old projector and an older laptop.

So for probably two hours of work by two people out in the cold, the total takings were electronics with a probable street value of $40, for a net of $10 an hour each. Would have been more if they had got the power brick for the laptop maybe…

Working at Macca’s they’d be earning $12 an hour and the work would be easier.

Addendum: The janitor says that he thinks these two were casing the joint for possibly an hour a few nights before. So figure three hours, two people, possibly a few broken drill bits, for a gross return of maybe $7 an hour each. You’ll never get rich that way, kids.

Cognitive Dissonance

I note that Uncle has, reportedly, decided that all US government and military computers will now use Windows 10.

I note that Windows 10, since the Anniversary Update, turns on the Customer Experience Improvement Program even if you have turned it off. CEIP, roughly translated, means “Report everything you are doing to Microsoft.”

I have to wonder, in which universe is having these two ideas both operative at the same time considered a Good Thing?

If nothing else, MS has now made itself a big fat target for realtime foreign military espionage…

A little amusement for a while…

Out of the blue, one day, I got an email from RiffRaff, a man of renown on the old TSC board, asking if I could do a favor for him and his employer, who we will call $BoozeStore. It seems that $BoozeStore did not own the $ domain; it had been purchased by the IT-guy before the guy RiffRaff replaced, and he had never bothered to turn over the credentials. After leaving under a cloud, he had eventually offered the domain back to $BoozeStore for an exorbitant fee — apparently about mid five figures. Riff was hoping that I could negotiate this guy down to a more reasonable number – they were hoping $500, but could go as high as $1000.

Figured I, why not? Favor for a friend and all that. So I hit the sales site, a very fancy site for high-profile name transfers, and offered $500. It told me, natch, that was too low to even pass on to the client. Par, I figured. But I noticed that I seemed to be the only bidder.

Two days later, I hit the site again, for $600. Still too low. But this time, a site salesman came back to me suggesting that I should significantly increase my offer. This is where the only part of the story that I have any right to be proud of happened: I bought the domain $ and told the guy that my own client was Canadian, as I was, and he felt that the .ca domain was more valuable to him as a Canadian entity than the .com domain would be — and cost $26 a year without any up front expenditure. And offered $650. They countered at around $2000.

With my cover story firmly in place, now, I could afford a bit of golden silence. So it sat there for the better part of a month, until I finally offered $700. All through this, Riff is running interference with $BoozeStore owners, micromanagers all, and I don’t hear any of it until I send out the $700 offer. Riff tells his people this, and I am in the mail loop for a while. Which is interesting because $BoozeStore managers start telling me to do the things I’m already doing. And where Riff has had to sit and take this, I find it amusing, because of course they have no power over me: my net investment is $26 and some emails at this point, and it is very cheap for me to hang up and walk away at any time. Having nothing personally depend on the outcome makes it easier for me to see the humor in the $boss’ vacillations.

Eventually the site comes back with a counter at $1050, which I grudgingly accept, pay off, and transfer to $BoozeStore. Riff sends a personal check for the $1050 plus $26 — I guess he owns the $ domain now if he wants it — plus a little over for my time and putting up with $boss.

Now, what’s left for RiffRaff is to figure out who owns the $ domain, which is what they were using while $ was in limbo, and reclaim that as well…